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Mark Spinelli, CPA CFP™, is a member of the Committee for the Fiduciary Standard.

Why is the Fiduciary Standard Vital?

Investors must be able to count on professionals they can trust. The fiduciary standard legally requires a financial adviser to act, like a medical doctor, completely in their clients' best interest. In contrast, the "arms length" standard allows a broker to sell clients products in the best interest of his or her employer. This difference is stark. If an investor is wronged by a broker, the investor's burden is to prove the broker is wrong; if the investor is wronged by a fiduciary advisor, it is the advisor's burden is to prove he is right.

These opposing roles have practical consequences for investors. The advisor is required to put investors' best interests first; disclose conflicts and all important facts; avoid or manage in the investor's interest all material conflicts; disclose fees and control expenses; follow and document a due diligence process in making decisions; and diversify investments. A broker, just meeting the minimum legal requirements, has no such duties.

For more information on the fiduciary standard, please see:

The Committee for the Fiduciary Standard

Why Fee-Based Financial Planning?

We are committed to running our business with your best interest as our only concern. Our firm offers only fee-based financial planning, which means that we are paid by our clients, rather than on commission by the owners of any investment products recommended.

Fee-based financial planning is the industry gold-standard, and is the only business model that allows us to provide truly unbiased research and guidance. Fee-based financial planning allows us to select investments which are in your best interest rather than investments which will pay us the largest commission. Consequentially, it also allows us to build some of the most tailored portfolios in the industry, as we are not bound to any brand of investments.

For more information on fee-based financial planning, please see:

Brokers Win, Investors Lose,"

Wall Street Journal. Feb 27, 2010.